Wednesday, November 4, 2015
The Pew Should Not Control the Pulpit
Far too often the pew has controlled the pulpit, and great harm has come in the Church. The Apostle warns Timothy that a time is coming when people “will not endure sound doctrine.” This is frequently the case at the present time, and has been so during this present [20th] century. So it is important that every member of the Church should have a true conception of the Church and the office of the ministry in particular.
There are churches in the world today which appear on the surface to be very flourishing. People crowd into them and they display much zeal and enthusiasm. But on closer examination you will find that most of the time is taken up with music of various types, and with clubs and societies and social activities. The service starts at 11 a.m. and must finish promptly at 12 noon. There will be real trouble if it does not! There is but a brief “address” of some quarter of an hour’s duration, twenty minutes as a maximum. The unfortunate minister, if he does not see these things clearly, is afraid to go against the wishes of the majority, his livelihood depends upon church members, and the result is that everything is made to conform to the desires and wishes of the pew. . . .
The history of the Church shows clearly that it is when the pew, the listeners, exert such powerful influence and when ministers lacking courage have been so bound, that the Word of God has not been truly preached and the Church has become dead and lifeless. The pew does not dictate to the minister as to what he is to do.
But let me add that the minister also must not dictate. it is the Lord Himself who determines, He who is seated at the right hand of God and who has given “some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” He has given them for the edification of the members of the Church, and it is His message that is to be preached without fear or favour. We need to recapture something of the spirit of John Knox whose preaching caused Queen Mary of Scots to tremble.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Christian Unity: An Exposition of Ephesians 4:1-16,” pg.201-202